Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire Serperior Code!

Serperior Fan-art by Pikishi

Here’s some quick news for those playing Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire (ORAS for short). Nintendo has announced the redemption code for a Serperior with the ability Contrary!

Code redemption period: 9th January 2015 – 30th November 2015
Code: POKEMON497

Please take note that since the code was announced on Japanese TV (via Pokémon Get☆TV), it may not work on US/EU games. The code is not a one-time use code, so there is no limit to the number of people who can redeem it!

Source: Serebii

Christmas Shopping over the Weekend? Here’s your solution!

Christmas is round the corner, so are you still having headaches on where to grabs some lovely Christmas Presents over the weekend? Our team at Neko No Gensou have spotted a couple of great places that may be your solutions to getting some neat presents for the festive season.

1. Pokémon Center Plushies

Definitely one of the most lovely things you can grab this year is Pokémon Plushies which are available at your doorstep! Alternatively, you could pop by Zepy Games, Comics Connection, Mega Multimedia, GameScore, and GameMartz to grab them as well.

Not only has the Singapore stores stocked up a whole load of new merchandises, they’re also prepared some lovely limited edition merchandise for the festive season!

Not Christmas related, but this is irresistibly adorable.

Alternatively, you could always bring your friends and family into the world of Pokémon by getting them a limited edition 3DS! Don’t forget to include a copy of Pokémon ORAS. If you get them to start their adventure in ORAS, they are still eligible for most of the special gifts available in the game!

Don’t forget, if you spend above $40 on Rakuten Singapore, you get it shipped right to your doorstep for FREE!

2. Hobby Art Gallery & Hobby Art @ Work

Addresses:

  • Hobby Art Gallery – 91 Bencoolen Street, Sunshine Plaza #01-44 Singapore 189652
  • Hobby Art @ Work12 Arumugam Rd, Lion Building B #06-04 Singapore 409958

Familiar to many model kit collectors and builders, the Hobby Art Gallery and Hobby Art @ Work outlets have their Christmas promotions as well!

Hobby Art Gallery
Hobby Art @ Work

With a wide range of Model Kits, this makes it ideal locations to grab Christmas gifts for Mecha and Model Kit Lovers.

Shelves Packed with Model Kits at Hobby Art Gallery

 

Wide Selection Available at Hobby Art @ Work

Model kits for the One Piece Boats are up for grabs as well. So you can surprise One Piece Lovers with an awesome present, or two. Or three.

Image from Gundam Planet

If you’re also looking to do some modifications or upgrades to your Model Kits, you’ve a wide range of tools and Kotobukiya add-on parts for selection as well.

Here’s the great news: All the way until 4th January, there’s a 30% off for all Bandai Plastic model kits, 10% off for all paints, tools and accessories (except those with yellow tags. Take note that the discount is only not applicable to Expo limited/exclusives, Premium Bandai (P-Bandai) products and Pre-order items).

On top of that, members will enjoy an additional 5% off.

HGUC Kits are available as well.

Aside from the offer stated above, there’s other great deals waiting for you! One great example is the Nightingale, Up for grabs at only $89.90!

On the Little Battler eXperience (LBX; Danbooru Senki) side of things, the Hyper Function LBX The Emperor is released! This is the also the first series of LBX Model Kits that comes with a separate core skeleton! If you are looking for great deals, the Ikaros Zero & RS model kit (the one with the radio-controlled stand) is only $10!

They also have a New Year Campaign for 2015 as well. Buying participating Model Kits from either of the Hobby Art Outlets will entitle you to take part in this Lucky Draw where you can win awesome prizes, such as a set of PG Model Kits.

In addition, You can join our Hobby Art Gallery giveaway!

3. Otakutachi

Address: 91 Bencoolen Street, Sunshine Plaza #01-32 Singapore 189652

Located at Sunshine Plaza, we have Otakutachi. A store filled with loads of anime merchandise, with merchandise from hit titles such as Love Live!, Date A Live and Kantai Collection.

With the festive season just round the corner, they now have a $5 Shelf and a $10 Shelf. Many of these items are more than 50% off!

If what you are eyeing are not on these shelves, fear not. There’s still a store wide 30% discount!

Tons of figurines are up for grabs right off the shelf at really great prices.

In addition there’s a large selection of merchandise such as phone straps and keyrings!

If you’re looking for something neat for Love Live fans, the really cute Honoka and Nico Nendroids are up for adoption as well. They’re also on discount!

Do not worry if you’re not sure what your friend likes. You have the option of buying Otakutachi Gift Vouchers (no minimum purchase required!) as well! This way you wouldn’t have a headache choosing something for your friends.

So hurry down to Otakutachi as the promotion ends on 24th December at 3pm!

Remember to join our Otakutachi Gift Vouchers Giveaway right here!

4. Summoners

Address: 5 Koek Road, Cuppage Plaza, #02-17, Singapore 228796

Taking a short walk from Somerset MRT, you could also pop by Summoner’s at Cuppage Plaza.

Not only do they carry a wide range of TCGs, you also could grab awesome card sleeves and deck boxes as well, which would make lovely Christmas presents for card collectors and players.

Great news for Buddy Fight and Vanguard players. Buddy Fight booster packs are for grabs at $1 a pack and $30 for a box. Vanguard is going for $1.50 a pack, $30 a box and $15 for Extra Pack boxes. Do bear in mind that these great deals run for the entire December, so grab them while you can!

Vanguard, Image from Wikipedia
Buddy Fight, Image from myanimelist.net

While grabbing some gifts, you could also grab a cool drink and chill out at the cozy shop as well.

5. Kinokuniya

List of outlets here.

Piled up with tons of books, this is one great place to grab a present for your bookworm fans.

With four outlets: Takashimaya, JEM, Liang Court and Bugis Junction, it’s quite easy to visit one of their stores!

Kinokuniya is also well known to be stocked up with Japanese books and magazines which are relatively rare in Singapore. So it might be a good corner to pick up something special. Whats more, there’s 20% store wide discount for Kinokuniya members and 10% discount for regular walk-ins until 25th December 2014.

The offer runs all the way until Christmas day, so you can still pick up some books last-minute.

6. Takashimaya Christmas Sales

One of the biggest sales I’ve seen in Singapore, would be at the basement of Takashimaya, located near Orchard MRT.

The entire basement space is being taken up for this huge fair.

Here you have a wide range of toys and gifts up for grabs. Ranging from the awesome Baymax Big Hero 6 all the way to Sanrio apparels.

Not to mention, there’s a huge section allocated to Hello Kitty❤ There is also a small Display for the Hello Kitty 40th Aniversary.

Aside from the sales, there’s the huge Build Strike Gundam statue as well as a Bat Mobile on display as well.

Last minute Christmas decorations are also up for grabs.

Even if you haven’t thought through on what Christmas gifts to grab for someone, especially kids, this large fair would definitely flood you with ideas on what to grab off the shelves.

The fair will be open up till Christmas Day!

Model Kits Heaven – Hobby Art

For our readers watching Build Fighters, keen on getting your own Gunpla? Or possibly customizing them? Well here’s a pretty neat place where you can grab your needs.

Remember some time back where there was a Neo Zeong Group Build? Yup, that place is your answer!

Hobby Art Gallery and Hobby Art @ Work is a heaven for you to get all you need.

Hobby Art Gallery
Hobby Art @ Work

Address:

Hobby Art Gallery – 91 Bencoolen Street, Sunshine Plaza #01-44 Singapore 189652

Hobby Art @ Work – 12 Arumugam Rd, Lion Building B #06-04 Singapore 409958

With both shops easily reachable via MRT, you can drop by after work or during the weekends to actually have a look at what’s up for grabs. You could also check out their Facebook Page.

So here’s a quick preview of the stash of awesome Model Kits you can grab at these places.

Hobby Art Gallery

 

Hobby Art @ Work

There’s also a great variety of tools that will aid your Model Kit Building as well.

To top that up, there’s also a large spread of third party parts, which are lovely for customization.

And some electronics to light up your kits.

If you’re actually keen to paint or coat your Model Kits, the spread of paint available is also huge.

If you’re keen to grab a couple of Model Kits, you might want to pop by soon as they’re having a 30% off for all Bandai Plastic model kits, 10% off for all paints, tools and accessories except those with yellow tag. Just note that the discount is only not applicable to Expo limited/exclusives, Premium Bandai (P-Bandai) products and Pre-order items. On top of that, members will enjoy an additional 5% off.

If you’re actually keen to learn more or improve your Model Kit building skills, you could also consider dropping by as there’s lots of really friendly people in the shop who are willing to share their experience with you. To be honest, even I myself learned a lot about Model Kit Building from them as well.

Time for some awesome news. We are going to be giving 2 lucky winners $50 Cash vouchers for the Hobby Art Outlets. Simply check out our Giveaway on Facebook to find out how you could get a chance to win these vouchers!

 

 

 

Final Fantasy Explorers Light – Impressions and Tips

Release Date: 18 December 2014
Publisher: Square-Enix
Price: (Japanese) 5,800 yen (package/retail version; excluding tax), 4,500 yen (digital version; excluding tax)

Intro

Final Fantasy is a name that is familiar to almost all gamers all over the world. However in Final Fantasy Explorers, Square-Enix took a radical change and decided to explore (pun not intended) the action/hunting/crafting genre and added their own twist to the gaming style popularised by Monster Hunter. There is no doubt there are influences and inspirations taken from the latter, but Square-Enix has ensured the game is different and offers more than its inspiration, creating a game fit for Final Fantasy fans. I delved into the demo since its first day of release, and enjoyed every moment of it.

The game will be released tomorrow (18 Dec) as of writing, so let’s round up what the demo provided and how it convinced me to buy the game!

What does the demo contain?

Continue reading

Insights On Local Pop-Culture Conventions – Interview with Neo Tokyo Project


Jason a.k.a. Crimson. Promotional Photo for Razer. Photo taken by The Art of Mezame

Pop-culture events have been popping up around Singapore for a good number of years. There is a rise in the quantity and quality of events these years, as the community gets more and more active. With the more exciting changes we see year to year, we decided to interview one of the earlier movers of pop-culture activities in Singapore, Jason Koh from Neo Tokyo Project to let us have a better understanding of the history and development of the local pop-culture community!


QN: Hi, could you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

Jason: I’m Jason better known as Crimson in the cosplay community, and I head Neo Tokyo Project, an integrated pop-culture marketing agency in Singapore.

QN: Could you share with us a little more about pop-culture?

Jason: Pop-culture simply means any form of consumed mass media that is currently in the public’s popular consciousness. In Singapore, this includes anime, comic books, games and manga.

One of the greatest expressions of pop-culture fandom is cosplay, which is something we also indulge in because we make costumes ourselves.


Crimson’s Heathcliff (Sword Art Online) Cosplay. Photo taken by Darkon Lore

QN: How did you get started in pop-culture?

Jason: Well, that’s going to be a long story.

NnG: Maybe the origins of it?

Jason: I loved playing computer games as a kid. I recall the first game I played on the PC was Ultima 1. It’s a really old RPG with stick-figure graphics and stuff.

  
Ultima 1 from Wikipedia, StrongStyleFiction

NnG: But it was nice at that time.

Jason: Yeah! So basically I started out with gaming. Then along the way I picked up geeky stuff like playing Dungeons & Dragons and Magic the Gathering. I spent a good number of years hanging out at Comics Mart in Serene Centre, skipping school (laughs) and playing card games. I played lots of games, collected lots of comic books. Basically, all my hobbies have been some form of expression of my love for popular culture, an expression of fandom. Of course, I didn’t know it at the time. I studied Mass Communication at Ngee Ann Poly, and Communications at Wee Kim Wee School at NTU.

This was followed by a good number of years working in the media as a freelance journalist, photographer and multimedia manager, and it’s those skills that have brought me to where I am right now. I picked up blogging, and have since turned that blog into a platform with which I can inspire like-minded people – people who love games, love anime, love comic books, love pop-culture – to work together to develop their skills and to apply those skills to service the companies that produce their favorite products.

QN: Since you mentioned Dungeons and Dragons which were considered “geeky” at that point of time, do you think they could be considered “pop-culture”?

Jason: I think that the definition of pop-culture changes with every paradigm. So what might be popular at a certain point of time might not be as popular later on. Geeky activities really came to the fore with the rise of Internet startups and successful technopreneurs. They called it the dot.com bubble. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, it wasn’t “hip” or “happening” to be a geek at all. But because of the rise of the Internet, with Internet cultures and geekiness gaining traction, more and more successful people were coming out and actually saying they had geeky hobbies. Whatever used to be classified as outlandish and non-mainstream suddenly become the new mainstream. Case in point, it’s cool to watch Marvel movies these days, and if you don’t know who Thor is, who Loki is, who Captain America is – then you probably have been living under a rock!


Thor and Loki by MushStone@DA 

Singaporeans are kiasu (afraid of losing/losing out). They want to be in the in-crowd with their peers. It’s actually a good thing that pop-culture is now so accessible and visible, because it also means that there are greater opportunities for us and for the companies we service to engage with their audiences.

QN: What makes the pop-culture scene so unique and interesting?

Jason: I have been involved in quite a few communities. Before I was involved in cosplay, I was a part of card gaming, comic book collecting and toy collecting forums. There was also an IRC channel called #SGMA that was pretty active back in the day for local enthusiasts, and that was many, many years ago. The thing is, pop-culture’s really come a long way. Right now, one of the greatest and most visible expressions that we see is when people dress up as their favourite characters – in cosplay basically. It’s become an increasingly prevalent activity, with many events springing up out of the blue easily without a word every other month.

As for us, we run International Cosplay Day Singapore as a community event. This event takes place at *SCAPE each year with an emphasis on the positive effects of pop-culture and of cosplay especially. We want to encourage greater solidarity and friendship among local and international cosplayers. At the same time, we run Doujin Market, which we abbreviated into Doujima. It’s an opportunity for young artistic talents in Singapore to explore new ways of getting their art out to the public, to find ways to popularise their work and to showcase themselves. God knows we need more support for local communities.

QN: Is there anything developing in the local community that is especially unique to Singapore?

Jason: Uniquely Singaporean? Other than the kiasu-ness, I think it’s really the fact that Singaporeans are quite innovative. I know for a fact that one of the doujin groups in Singapore that we’ve worked with – their artwork adorns the E.P.I.C. Card for our membership programme. They’ve published a few novellas with original content all on their own. They started doing original content before they worked on doujin products like fanart.

EPICCard  E.P.I.C. Card Illustration from About E.P.I.C. Card

I think another thing that I’ve discovered is that quite a good number of local cosplayers are very talented. People are getting increasingly international and at the same time I think there’s a rise in crafting culture – that’s something quite unheard because most young cosplayers buy their costumes online. I think it’s good that there are more and more people interested in crafting, and I would like to think that we had some small influence in that.

QN: How did you come about starting Neo Tokyo Project (NTP)?

Jason: It’s a really strange story. Basically what happened was that some time in 2010, I came back from a long hiatus in cosplay and decided to build a World of Warcraft costume. So one day, I decided to enter a cosplay competition on a whim, and got selected for an Animax tourism event which took place in Hong Kong.

On the same trip I met Kaika from Cosplay Chronicles – she’s a great blogger, really well respected – and several other bloggers and cosplayers from around the region. I remember chatting with Kaika, and she suggested that I should put my media training to good use and maybe blog about things, so I did.

I ran the blog for a couple of years, and I decided I really liked what I was doing – making costumes, working with other like-minded cosplayers and empowering young people to develop good habits through cosplay and other pop-culture hobbies. We also realized that a good number of companies we love, that produced the games and products we loved – they enjoyed our work and follow us on social media. We started collaborating with them and that’s how we got to where we are right now.

QN: Having been part of the scene and community for so long, what made you decide to organize events?

Jason: The opportunity came when I was involved in the first iteration of Singapore Cosplay Chess. This took place in 2011, and we essentially bankrolled and produced Singapore’s first stage show for cosplayers by cosplayers. After the event was over I had to think about whether we were going to do the show again in the following year. To do so, I had to be influential enough to pull all the sponsors together, and at the same time, provide the performers, who were all volunteers doing it out of passion, with a stage.

 Villager (Dempster) & Travis Touchdown (Alvis Lim) battling on stage during Cosplay Chess

I decided to do something about it and said no matter what, we are going to run an event next year. It needed to be a new event to differentiate ourselves from other cosplay events in Singapore. So I sought the advice of my overseas cosplay friends and connected with communities around the world, and decided to make the International Cosplay Day movement in Singapore something really, really big. We actually made it happen, and we have been going strong ever since.

 Prize giving ceremony at ICDS 2014

QN: How different has it been since you started organizing events as compared to being part of the community?

Jason: I have a lot less time to wear costumes and to attend events now. When I’m at an event, I’m either the producer, or an event partner and it’s all work. Also, I’m usually on the look out for good practices that we can learn from and improve ourselves. Like I said, we want to be a company that is progressive. We don’t want to be a company that does the same things over and over again. I wish I had more time to make costumes as I did in the past, but I think it’s a necessary evil, all that paperwork. I can’t deny the fact that being an event organiser means that I have more influence, and that influence allows me to push for greater opportunities that will benefit the community in the long run.

QN: Was there any problems or new challenges you face organizing ICDS?

Jason: I don’t think we expected ICDS to grow the way it did. The first year when we ran it at Ngee Ann Poly, we were hoping to have 1,000 visitors and we actually broke that amount. We were the first organisers in Singapore to bring in Yaya Han all the way from America. In the second year, we got Alodia and held our event at *SCAPE and our visitor numbers more than doubled. This year we brought in the “Queen of Armoured Cosplay” from Germany, Kamui, and Dat-Baka from Australia and we saw more than 5,000 visitors.

I think the biggest challenge now is how we can keep leveling up our game and topping that.

QN: Just last month, NTP was also involved with Game Start. So how exactly were you involved?

Jason: Game Start is Singapore’s new premier gaming convention, and the first of its kind. It saw 12,000 visitors, and we were their official cosplay partner. We curated an interactive scavenger hunt and cosplay content on stage, including guests such as Yasemin Arslan and Yuegene Fay. Game Start also taught us that there were many new ways we could look at and explore cosplay involvement at events that were aimed at non-cosplay audiences.

Of course, if any of your readers have any feedback or think we can do better, or have great event ideas they want us to execute, please let us know.

Check out our coverage @ Game Start 2014! (opens in new window)

QN: As compared to ICDS, how different was it, helping to run Game Start?

Jason: Definitely different. ICDS was more for the anime, comic books and gaming community, with an emphasis on cosplay. By comparison, Game Start was a gaming event and targeted at a wholly different audience. We are all gamers at NTP, and we enjoyed the challenge of introducing content we were familiar with and supporting the efforts of the Game Start team. It was a good learning experience for us, and helped us improve our processes as well.

QN: One thing I noticed about the Game Start Cosplay competition. There wasn’t a 1st, 2nd or 3rd Placing. Instead people were awarded titles such as best Craftmanship etc. What made you decide to use this method of judging instead of the conventional ranking?

Jason: Actually, I’ve been planning to implement something like this for awhile now. Before I ran events, I was pretty active in the cosplay competition circuit. I think a lot of people hate being ranked – the country’s already so focused on numbers and being number one. It breeds unhealthy competition.

We feel that cosplayers put in a lot of effort into creating their own costumes, into their make-up, into understanding the nuances of their characters. Each of them deserves a chance to shine, and in my eyes as long as they’re willing to brave the stage, they’ve already all won a prize. There should be no reason for them to feel put upon when they are compared to each other.

So rather than focusing who trumps another, or making it a popularity contest based on votes, we focused on the skills each individual cosplayer brings to the table.

If they’ve built the costume from scratch all on their own, they have done the sanding, the priming, the layering, the detailing, then they’re eligible for the Craftsmanship award. If they put up a good show on stage, if it’s entertaining, it’s engaging, and it’s very in-character, then they could win the Performance prize. There’s also a Judge’s Choice, which is an award for participants who perform consistently well in every category.

While they may not be the most skilled in craftsmanship, performance, or in their stage sets and gimmicks, this prize rewards those who are are good all-rounders. We also believe in encouraging new talent, so we always have a Newcomer prize for those who have yet to place in any stage competition.

CIMG2319Check out our cosplay competition feature @ Game Start 2014! (opens in new window)

It’s also very important for us that judges are transparent and that all participants are assessed fairly solely on merit. NTP staff is not allowed to sit on the judging panel or participate in any cosplay competition we run, because we believe that there should be a line drawn between the company organising the competition and the contestants. Our judges are almost always our international guests, because we believe that they are most qualified, and at the same time most neutral and unbiased in any given competition.

Let’s face it, whenever a cosplayer doesn’t get a prize, they’ll rant about it, they will complain about it, they will say “this competition must have been rigged”. We don’t want that to happen and one of the ways we can nip that in the bud is to ensure that we don’t give anyone a reason to doubt in the first place.

QN: Having been part of so many events over the years, is there an event a particular event you remembered or enjoyed the most?

Jason: The one event I enjoyed going to the most was Anime Expo in America, and that left me a lasting impression.

NnG: When was it?

Jason: More than 10 years ago. I was on an exchange trip and I managed to explore Anime Expo and it was great! It was really inspiring.


Anime Expo 2006 from Wikipedia

QN: Do you have any memorable experience as an organiser that you could share with us?

Jason: It might be a little trivial of me to say that cosplay events in Singapore are nowhere near international standards yet, but that’s the truth. Organizers need to know how to not sweat the small stuff and to find ways to ensure that you’re creating great environments for communities to thrive rather than just assuming cosplay will go well with everything and the kitchen sink. America is a great place to learn good convention practices. I’ve had very good recollections of what they’ve done well, and I think I’ll be integrating some of those elements, especially panels and seminars, into my events.


Comiket 62 from Wikipedia

QN: Is there anything you would like to see change or improve in the pop-culture scene in the years to come?

Jason: I think communities need to continue showing their love and their passion for the the games they play, and the products they enjoy. They also need to lay off the self-entitlement and stop being so quick to judge when they don’t get what they want.

I recall a visitor at Game Start who complained that the lights in the hall were really dim and that he couldn’t take picture of cosplayers. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have enjoyed PAX or Tokyo Game Show either, because it’d be just as dimly lit. Singaporeans can be incredibly myopic, and don’t always realize that companies will be more comfortable reaching out to you and giving you the perks that you deserve if you’re gracious and understanding rather than just badly behaved and demanding. That’s why an international perspective is important.

QN: What could we expect from NTP in the near future?

Jason: We’ll definitely be doing Spring Doujima again in April. We are going for more original content in April, and we just might be releasing a card game during Spring Doujima. At the very least, we should be going into a Beta/Play-test to gauge how fun it is. At NTP we want to do things that are fun. One of our core beliefs is that if it’s not fun, we don’t do it.


Doujima 2014 from Official Doujima Facebook Page

NnG: Is it a physical card game?

Jason: It is a physical card game.

NnG: Can we have a sneak preview before it’s released to the public? HEHEHEHE.

Jason: (laughs) You know the characters on the E.P.I.C Card? Those characters were created with a card game in mind. They’ll be featured in the card game we intend to produce, but it’s all in the air right now and we can’t reveal too much. But we are hoping to do a play-test during Spring Doujima if it works out. If it doesn’t, you know how it is. Deadlines get pushed back, there are delays in the game creation process, but that’s game creation for you.

At the same time we will be working with more game companies next year and I will be finishing my book on the history of cosplay in Singapore. I’ve already done some interviews with several movers and shakers in the cosplay community and in the local pop-culture scene, including the lawyer who fought in the ‘cosplay’ trademark case from a few years back. We’re hoping to launch the book sometime in April or May.

NnG: Next year? (2015)

Jason: Yeap! Next year. Of course ICDS 2015 with the theme “Fate and Freedom”. I guess you are the first media to hear about it and we will be doing auditions for Cosplay Chess pretty soon. 

QN: Anything else you would like to add on or want to tell our readers?

Jason: The biggest thing about being a pop-culture fan or being a cosplayer is really about wearing your passion on your sleeve. It’s really about showing your love and your enthusiasm for your hobbies and not giving up. But at the same time, ask yourself: “Does this hobby make you a better person?”, or “Does this hobby give you greater opportunities to improve yourself?”, and “At the end of the day, was the hobby fun?” So the thing is, most importantly…

NnG: Have fun!

Jason: Yes. Have fun. That’s a given. But also internalize the positive lessons from your hobby, and transform yourself into a responsible, successful, well-adjusted individual. That way, you can become the best you can be.

Shopping Spotlight – Otakutachi

With a short walk from either Dhoby Ghaut, Bras Basah or Bugis MRT, you could find yourself in an Anime Merchandise Paradise.

Previously located in a small corner of Bishan, the new shop that they have boasts a wider variety of goods up for grabs.

 

With a rather cozy and well decorated environment, Otakutachi is a great place to shop and comfortably choose your next addition to your collection.

Otakutachi also boasts a large selection of Pre-order figurines and merchandises which may be hard to get your hands on outside of Japan. You can check out their pre-order listing on their Facebook!

Personally what I really love about Otakutachi is the fact that you can have a great close up look of the Figurine or keychain you wish to grab, before you add it into your collection.

Here’s some great news. Neko No Gensou will be running our very first Giveaway! We’re giving away $10 Otakutachi cash vouchers to 2 of our readers! If you’re keen, you can find out more about the Giveaway right here.

 

Stay tune for more awesome news upcoming! Cheers!

Nobuo Uematsu Works With London Symphony Orchestra At Abbey Road Studios For Latest Final Fantasy Album

Photo from @vgmconcerts

Famous and popular video game music composer Nobuo Uematsu 植松伸夫 is set to work with London Symphony Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios, both regarded as world-class entities. Soundtrack enthusiasts would not be unfamiliar with these names, as they are often found on the labels of blockbuster Hollywood films.

The album, containing tracks from the ever-popular Final Fantasy series, is set to release in early 2015 under the name “Final Symphony”, published by X5 Music Group. The album will be seeing a broadcast exclusively before the official release on UK’s Classic FM, which you can tune into online here.

The official track list is not out yet, but according to the past concert series under the name “Final Symphony”, it should be safe to expect similar repertoire in the album, with tracks from Final Fantasy VI, VII and X, with exclusive arrangements by Masashi Hamauzu, Jonne Valtonen and Roger Wanamo.

I would definitely attempt to get my hands on this spectacular and resounding album when it releases, being a huge fan of Uematsu, LSO and Abbey Road Studios.

Continue reading

Culture Japan Night 2014


Immediately after AFA 2014, taking place at Jurong Regional Library is Culture Japan Night(CJ Night). Hosted by celebrity blogger and Director of Culture Japan, Danny Choo, CJ night is an event held yearly after AFA. This event is more of a gathering where you get a chance to learn a little more about the industry in Japan. More importantly, making new friends.

Having been following Danny’s blog since before the first AFA in 2008, I can say, he’s come a long way. From simply his blog color scheme being Orange that first caught my attention, to now a blog filled with many awesome information about Japan. In addition, he has been producing his very own line of dolls, the Smart Dolls. To be honest, I’d love to grab one of these dolls and bring them home during AFA. Though sadly, my wallet doesn’t agree with me.

Back to the event itself. It was a rather eye opening event. Not in terms of display, but the things Danny spoke about. Though lots of people brought their dolls and nendroids.

Even I brought Cherio with me.

A few quick highlights of what was mentioned at CJ night.
We start off with Danny giving us a brief, but rather detailed, summary of his life and progress of his business since the last CJ night in 2013.

One thing I really like about Danny, is how he tries to actually make friends with the crowd rather than just give a speech or talk.

He talked about how he had moved offices, about how some new members had join his team, some of the milestones and joys over the year. He also shared the hardships he had gone through as well as the risks he took to get to where he is today. To be honest, its really inspiring to hear him talk about how he made his passion into his career.

Some of the things he brought up during this year’s CJ night are also great news. Some not so great for my wallet😄.

First thing first, he’ll be going to various countries such as, but not only, Philippines for Toycon and Thailand for AFA Thailand. He would also be trying to get involved in fashion events as well. He also mentioned he will be back in Singapore in May for a huge popculture convention yet to be announced! Hurray!!

Mirai has also been doing government jobs as of late as well by appearing on travel maps for Japan and Malaysia. I really hope a Singapore version appears soon.

He’s also planning to grow his Smart Doll product line. Aiming to promote his Smart Doll as the next Global Brand Fashion Doll, such as Barbie, as well as going into the fashion industry. He’s also aiming to bring down production costs to bring down the retail prices! Cheers!

Some of the Smart Dolls on display

 

To top it up, he’s also looking at producing more apparels for not only the Smart Doll, but for humans as well. That’s right, both you and your doll can have matching clothes. He’s also thinking of producing other goods such as wallets ,waist pouches, shoes and spectacles.

Still in the making is the Smart Doll Guy. Though the final name for this series of male dolls is yet to be finalized, he announced that the first doll would be Eiji, a guy in the Mirai Millennium series.

He’s also hoping to produce character dolls for Yagami Light from Death Note and Snake from Metal Gear. I’m looking forward to these releases.

Yagami Light from Deathnote. Image from Wikipedia
Solid Snake. Artwork by Oxeyclean

So how are we going to get our hands on these awesome stuff in the near future? Well, they’re gonna be up for grabs on a online store which is yet to be launched.

Well, that’s pretty most of the key highlights he mentioned. Though I have to say, his talks, aside from the large amount of good news, are actually very inspirational. Especially when he talks about how he got to where he is today. I’d strongly urge anyone who can take some time off to actually join the next CJ night.

For now I’ll leave you with some shots I got during the CJ night.